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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Stopping Strokes: Which Drug Works Best?

Aired June 10, 2003 - 19:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Have you ever been put under anesthesia at the hospital and wondered what would happen while you were asleep? Depending on the hospital, maybe a little more than you could imagine.
Julie Vallese reports on testimony before the Federal Trade Commission.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JULIE VALLESE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some people who object say it's not a question of medical ethics, it's more a question of patient dignity and rights.

ROBIN WILSON, UNIV. OF SOUTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF LAW: And the closest I can come is to say that you're being used as a mere teaching tool, or you're being used as a mere practice dummy.

VALLESE: In testimony, University of South Carolina's School of Law Professor Robin Wilson cited numerous studies reporting instances of medical students and interns performing unscheduled pelvic exams on women who were under anesthesia, and did not give consent, all in the name of medical education.

WILSON: It appears to be something between a quarter of teaching hospitals and as much as or as many as 63 percent.

VALLESE: Teaching hospitals are designed to give medical students hands-on experience. The medical community says that is vital to healthcare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a lot to learn you can learn from books, but I don't think any of us would want to be treated by a physician whose only experience had been through what they had read.

VALLESE: Researchers questioning how forthright hospitals are before performing these procedures.

(on camera): This hearing at the FTC is a fact finding mission, the agency hoping to provide better information and education to consumers without regulation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's never our intent to do things to patients that they are not aware of.

VALLESE: So before entering into any medical examination, both sides say patients should ask questions. Is this a teaching hospital? Who will be present and who will do the procedure? And never assume a white coat means a doctor.

In Washington, I'm Julie Vallese.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Unbelievable. One quarter to 63 percent of teaching hospitals do these kind of procedures. Unbelievable.

Now this just isn't women's issue. Men should also ask questions about their procedure, because according to research presented at the hearing, it happens just as often to men.

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